Twenty-sixth session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs

Sections

Introduction
Representation at the session
Adequate priority for narcotics control
Periodicity of the sessions of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs and related matters
Co-ordination of activities of international organs and organizations in the struggle against the abuse of drugs
Implementation of international treaties
Illicit traffic and regional co-operation to control it
Poppy cultivation under properly controlled conditions so as to meet the world's requirements of opium for medical and scientific purposes
Drug abuse
Scientific research including the problem of cannabis and the question of khat
Operations financed by UNFDAC
Form of annual reports
Report of the INCB for 1974
Fifty-eighth session of the Economic and Social Council

Details

Pages: 29 to 40
Creation Date: 1975/01/01

Twenty-sixth session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs

Introduction

The Commission on Narcotic Drugs held its twenty-sixth session at Geneva from 17 to 28 February 1975. The agenda included the following items: Report of the Division of Narcotic Drugs on the work of the United Nations, the specialized agencies and other organizations; Operations financed by the United Nations Fund for Drug Abuse Control; Report of the International Narcotics Control Board for 1974; Scientific Research; The problem of cannabis; The question of khat; Illicit traffic; Drug Abuse; Poppy cultivation under properly controlled conditions so as to meet the world's requirements of opium for medical and scientific purposes; Form of annual reports; Programme of work and priorities.

The Commission recommended to the ECOSOC for action a number of resolutions dealing with specific items on its agenda such as Illicit Traffic, the Cannabis problem and Measures to reduce the illicit demand for drugs, but also three resolutions related to more general subjects which it felt to be of great importance, namely Adequate Priority for narcotics control; Periodicity of sessions of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs and related matters; and Co-ordination of activities of international organs and organizations in the struggle against the abuse of drugs. These resolutions will be quoted later on together with a short analysis of the debates which led to their adoption and an indication of the action taken by the ECOSOC at its fifty-eighth session.

Representation at the session

All States members of the Commission were represented at the twenty-sixth session, namely, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Egypt (Arab Republic of), France, Germany (Federal Republic of), Hungary, India, Indonesia, Iran, Jamaica, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Morocco, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Romania, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Togo, Turkey, Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland; United States of America and Yugoslavia.

The following States sent observers: Afghanistan, Algeria, Belgium, Bolivia, Bulgaria, Burma (Socialist Republic of the Union of), Cuba, Denmark, Finland, Ghana, Greece, Holy See, Irak, Italy, Kuwait, Malaysia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Republic of Korea, Republic of South Africa, Republic of Viet-Nam, Senegal, Spain, Tunisia.

The following United Nations bodies were represented at the session: the United Nations Fund for Drug Abuse Control (UNFDAC), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations Social Defence Research Institute and the United Nations Division of Social Affairs. The International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) was also represented. Representatives of the following specialized agencies attended the session: the World Health Organization (WHO), the International Labour Organisation (ILO), the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

The International Criminal Police Organization (ICPO/Intcrpol), an organization having a special agreement with the Economic and Social Council, was represented at the session.

The Customs Co-operation Council (CCC) and the International Arab Narcotics Bureau of the League of Arab States were represented.

The following inter-governmental organizations were also represented: the Colombo Plan Bureau and the Council of Europe.

The following non-governmental organizations in consultative status also attended: Baha1i International Community; International Confederation of Catholic Charities (Caritas Internationalis); International Council on Alcohol and Addictions (ICAA); International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Associations; International Federation of Women Lawyers and International Union for Child Welfare.

The Commission elected the following officers by acclamation: Mr. Jasjit Singh (India), Chairman; Dr. E. Babaian (USSR), First Vice-Chairman; Prof. B. Rexed (Sweden), Second Vice-Chairman; Dr. D. M. Smith (Canada), Rapporteur.

Adequate priority for narcotics control

In the course of its debate on the agenda item: Programme of Work and Priorities, the attention of the Commission was drawn to the Council resolution 1910 (LVII) on priorities in the economic, social and human rights fields, noting the report of the Secretary-General on the same subject which suggested, for the establishment of priorities, grouping programmes according to rates of growth in the regular budget, in three groups of decreasing rates of growth: narcotics control had been placed in Group C, the lowest category of priority. Several delegations expressed deep concern about what they considered to be an unjustifiably low priority for narcotics control, and the Commission recommended the adoption by the Economic and Social Council of the following resolution:

ADEQUATE PRIORITY FOR NARCOTICS CONTROL

The Economic and Social Council,

Bearing in mind the increasing responsibilities entrusted to the United Nations through treaties for the control of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances,

Mindful of the deep concern of a large number of Governments over the growing threat caused by the spread of drug abuse in certain parts of the world, as confirmed by the overwhelming support accorded to numerous resolutions adopted by the General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council during the last three years,

Recognizing that these developments have led to a considerable increase of work to be carried out by the competent United Nations bodies under their regular and statutory obligations,

Having regard to General Assembly resolution 3279 (XXIX) of 10 December 1974, which expresses appreciation for the activities of the International Narcotics Control Board and of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs in the field of control of illicit traffic and struggle against the abuse of drugs,

Recalling its resolution 1910 (LVII) of 2 August 1974, and in particular paragraph 5 thereof, as well as the report by the Secretary-General on priorities in the economic, social and human rights fields,

Requests the Secretary-General, in preparing and presenting his drafts for the programme budget and the medium-term plan, to give particular attention to the resources requested for the competent United Nations bodies and their secretariats, in view of this increased work in drug control, in order to ensure that in the light of the importance attributed to these activities by the General Assembly and by the Council, adequate priority be given and the necessary resources allocated.

Periodicity of the sessions of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs and related matters

During its discussion of the agenda item: Programme of Work and Priorities, the Commission recalled that the Council had decided by resolution 1848 (LVI) that the Commission should consider at its regular session scheduled for 1975 whether to meet in special session for two weeks in 1976. The Commission considered that it would be necessary to hold such a special session. During the same debate, the majority of the Commission re-affirmed that there should be annual meetings of the Sub-Commission on Illicit Traffic and related matters in the Near and Middle-East which had been established by Council resolution 1776 (LIV), and it also re-affirmed that there should be annual meetings of the Operational Heads of Narcotics Law Enforcement Agencies in the Far East Region until such time as the Council, upon the recommendation of the Commission, decided otherwise. As a result of the debate on this question, the Commission recommended the adoption of the following draft resolution by the Economic and Social Council:

PERIODICITY OF SESSIONS OF THE COMMISSION ON NARCOTIC DRUGS AND RELATED MATTERS

Tile Economic and Social Council

Noting with great concern that drug abuse and illicit traffic in drugs continue to constitute a grave problem,

Recognizing that these circumstances require continuing vigilance by the Commission on Narcotic Drugs and Governments,

Recalling its resolutions 1848 (LVI) of 15 May 1974 and 1776 (LIV) of 18 May 1973 as well as resolution 6 (XXV) adopted by the Commission on Narcotic Drugs and the recommendations made by the Ad Hoc Committee on Illicit Traffic in the Far East Region and endorsed by Council resolution 1845 (LVI) of 15 May 1974,

  1. Decides that the Commission shall hold a special session of two weeks in 1976, if possible after February, at Geneva at a time when it will not overlap with other meetings, in order to minimize its costs, and that, consequently, the duration of the regular 1977 session shall be reduced to two weeks instead of the three weeks initially planned;

  2. Reaffirms that there shall be annual meetings of the Sub-Commission on Illicit Traffic and Related Matters in the Near and Middle East and of Operational Heads of National Narcotics Law Enforcement Agencies of the Far East Region, until the Council, upon the recommendation of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs, decides otherwise, and authorizes the former to replace, if necessary, its meetings by meetings of its subsidiary bodies, with the consent of the Secretary-General, provided that such changes do not imply additional financial consequences.

Co-ordination of activities of international organs and organizations in the struggle against the abuse of drugs

In the course of its consideration of the Report of the Division of Narcotic Drugs, the Commission considered the problems of co-ordination of the actions taken by various international organs and organizations in the drug field as outlined in a report prepared by the Secretary-General at the request of the Economic and Social Council. The Report gave account of the current situation, described the role of the different bodies, the different forms of activity in which they were engaged, the difficulties encountered in trying to streamline and co-ordinate these activities and the attempts already made at finding solutions.

A number of suggestions were made in respect of possible practical steps to improve co-ordination. At the conclusion of the debate, the unique responsibility of the Commission in the matter under discussion was reaffirmed and the majority of members expressed the view that guidelines should be furnished to the SecretaryGeneral in the implementation of his co-ordinating role, and he was asked to continue in that all important function. The Commission recommended to the Council the adoption of the following draft resolution:

CO-ORDINATION OF ACTIVITIES OF INTERNATIONAL ORGANS AND ORGANIZATIONS IN THE STRUGGLE AGAINST THE ABUSE OF DRUGS

The Economic and Social Council

Recalling its resolution 1777 (LIV) of 18 May 1973 on the same subject,

Convinced that the increasing multidisciplinary action taken by Governments and international organs and organizations calls for continuous co-ordination of all these commendable efforts in the struggle against the abuse of drugs,

Recognizing with appreciation the report of the Secretary-General on the subject and his attempts to find solutions,

  1. Requests the Secretary-General to continue his efforts for the best possible coordination in this field and to report again on the subject;

  2. Further requests the Secretary-General to inform all Governments and all international organs and organizations concerned of this resolution with the invitation to assist him in his co-ordinating efforts to the fullest extent possible, so as to achieve maximum results and to avoid the overlapping and duplication of efforts.

Implementation of international treaties

The Council considered the situation of the implementation of the international drug treaties, took appropriate action on the treaty situation of certain drugs, noted with satisfaction the growing membership to the international drug treaties, took position once more on the so-called "Cannabis Question" and recommended the adoption by the Council of the following draft resolution:

CANNABIS PROBLEM

The Economic and Social Council

Referring to the provisions of the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, 1961, in particular to article 2, paras. 1 and 5, article 4 (b) and (c) and article 35 (b) and (c),

Recalling that cannabis and cannabis resin, in addition to being listed in Schedule I of that Convention, are also included in its Schedule IV,

Reaffirming that, in view of the numerous findings of scientific research on cannabis, there can be no doubt as to the harmful nature of cannabis,

Noting with concern the recent increased availability in many parts of the world of new concentrated forms of cannabis, such as the so-called "liquid cannabis", "liquid hashish" or "oil of cannabis",

Considering that cannabis and drugs derived from cannabis have lost their original medical role and are the most frequently abused drugs and that this fact requires joint action by all countries Parties to the international conventions on narcotic drugs,

Realizing that a reduced control regarding cannabis and drugs derived from cannabis in one area might create an important source of' supply of, and illicit traffic in, the same substances in other areas,

  1. Recommends to all countries and competent international organs and organizations not to lose momentum in taking appropriate measures against cannabis abuse, supply of cannabis and cannabis resin and, in particular, illegal trade and traffic in cannabis and drugs derived from cannabis, in order not to endanger the success of global and regional efforts in this field;

  2. Draws the attention of Governments to the desirability of taking all practicable measures for the treatment, rehabilitation and education of abusers of cannabis;

  3. Urges that scientific research in relation to cannabis should be continued and accelerated;

  4. Requests the Secretary-General to inform all Governments of this resolution, inviting them to take action for its effective implementation, in accordance with the pertinent provisions of the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, 1961.

Illicit traffic and regional co-operation to control it

The Commission examined the problem of illicit traffic in narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances and took cognizance of the first report of the Sub-Commission on Illicit Traffic and Related Matters in the Near and Middle East, with special reference to a study tour to the countries of that region (30 March to 13' April 1974). Et considered also the report of the Meeting of Operational Heads of National Narcotics Law Enforcement Agencies for the Far East Region, which took place in Bangkok from 2 to 6 September 1974.

The Commission was well aware that although the main features of the illicit traffic in drugs did not often change greatly from one year to another, several noteworthy trends had become discernible in 1973. This had been due in fact both to the technical innovations of traffickers and more importantly to the action of certain Governments.

Mention was, for instance, made of the emergence of new concentrated forms of cannabis such as the so-called "liquid cannabis" as a powerful drug, easy to conceal and transport, which was smuggled on a much wider scale and in much larger quantities than in 1972. Other forms of cannabis were also dealt in on a very wide scale; resin especially was carried long distances from its points of manufacture and became of more interest to organized traffickers. Trafficking in psychotropic substances also appeared to be increasing in many parts of the world.

Government action contributing to changes in illicit traffic included the decision of the Government of Turkey to prohibit the cultivation of the poppy plant with effect from the end of the 1972 harvest. The effective implementation of this decision substantially reduced the quantities of morphine base available for the making of heroin particularly in France. This fact, together with the interception of large quantities of heroin intended for the North American market and the disruption of many of the established trafficking routes as a result of strengthened and more co-ordinated methods of law enforcement during 1972 and 1973, especially in France and North America, meant that by the end of 1973 this trade, although far from being eliminated, had lost much of its strength (see also page 35).

Traffickers therefore looked elsewhere for supplies. These were found for the North American market in "brown" heroin emanating from Mexico and the Far East and in cocaine from South America. Prices, however, were high, and supplies inadequate to balance the reduction of heroin from Europe. Markets in western Europe were also furnished with heroin from the Far East - commonly referred to as "brown sugar" - which often arrived by many circuitous routes; and with cocaine from South America. Individual consignments were, however, usually small.

In south-east Asia greatly improved methods of law enforcement and much closer operational co-ordination led to large seizures of opium and morphine base. It was significant that many of these were made in mainland countries near the production areas. This resulted in some fragmentation of the trade and diversions to other routes.

In west Asia also some Governments tooks steps to strengthen their efforts to suppress illicit trafficking, and there were substantial rises in the quantities seized of opium and cannabis, both herb and resin.

While recognizing that drug trafficking in many parts of the world remained at a high level, traffickers continued to show ingenuity and tenacity, and that new patterns of drug abuse and trafficking would probably appear in the future, the Commission considered that the years 1972 and 1973 might mark the period when the law enforcement services of the world first began to get the measure of the illicit drug traffickers and to inflict substantial damage upon their trade. In many countries larger seizures had clearly been a result of better law enforcement; this could be seen in parts of the Middle East and Far East. In others lower seizures had been equally clearly due to long-continued measures of the same nature; examples were to be found in western Europe and North America.

The Commission recommended for action by the Council the following draft resolution on the subject:

ILLICIT TRAFFIC IN NARCOTIC DRUGS AND PSYCHOTROPIC SUBSTANCES

The Economic and Social Council,

Noting the variety of means used by international traffickers to try to conceal drugs travelling from the places of production or processing to the illicit consumer markets from discovery by the national law enforcement agencies,

Considering the difficulties for the services concerned of detecting persons engaged in the illicit traffic in narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances,

Believing that close international co-operation is required if the development of this traffic is to be combated with the best chances of success,

Noting the agreements worked out under the auspices of the competent international bodies, such as ICPO/Interpol and the Customs Co-operation Council,

  1. Invites States to take into consideration the pertinent recommendations and resolutions as adopted by the organs of the United Nations as well as by other competent international bodies;

  2. Farther recommends States to co-operate closely in a co-ordinated campaign providing for an exchange of information likely to facilitate the detection and suppression of the international illicit traffic in narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances.

Poppy cultivation under properly controlled conditions so as to meet the world's requirements of opium for medical and scientific purposes

According to the request made at its Third Special Session, the Commission had at its disposal to study that question a note describing important developments which had taken place within the year, the Report of the International Narcotics Control Board setting out certain elements of the problem and details of the scientific research initiated by the UN Narcotics Laboratory.

The main new development had been the decision of the Turkish Government to authorize poppy cultivation for the production of unlanced poppy capsules. The Government had declared its intention of establishing a system of control which would prevent any appreciable existence of Turkish opium in the illicit traffic. As a result of the resumption of poppy cultivation, the Government had asked, and the United Nations granted, technical assistance dealing with such problems as the construction of a factory for the manufacture of opium alkaloids as well as training assistance, equipment for the law enforcement agencies, etc.

As for the scientific research, it included investigations on Papaver somniferum as well as Papaver bracteatum: international collaboration in that research work had been established on a broad scale, and important investigations were being carried out in many countries. For Papaver somniferum, projects included research on the improvement of the yield of phenanthrene alkaloids from the opium poppy and also on the use both of lanced and unlanced poppy straw as an important source of these alkaloids. As for Papaver bracteatum, research was carried out on the most suitable conditions for the cultivation with a high yield of thebaine, also on methods for the determination of thebaine in the various parts of the plant, etc.

The part of the Report of INCB dealing with the subject set out elements of what was called the "supply and demand question". Summing up what should be done to meet the gap between supply and demand for codeine, the Chairman made the following points:

  1. Realistic estimates of requirements of opium and/or poppy straw should be drawn up by pharmaceutical manufacturers and these estimates should be endorsed by the national governments concerned to ensure that they are realistic;

  2. Exporters of opium and poppy straw should then plan their production on the above realistic estimates of requirements and the area of cultivation should be extended only to the extent commensurate with adequate controls and safeguards;

  3. Countries manufacturing morphine, codeine and thebaine should step up production as much as possible in order to replenish stocks;

  4. Countries in which the process of lancing for opium took place might direct their efforts to obtaining morphine from the lanced capsules;

  5. Present research into obtaining codeine from Papaver bracteatum should be vigorously pursued;

  6. Other relevant research should continue to be vigorously pursued;

  7. Two factors should also contribute to easing the position: the decision by the Government of Turkey to produce unlanced poppy straw and the decision of the Government of the United States to release further quantities of opium from its strategic stockpile.

There was general agreement to ask the INCB and the United Nations Narcotics Laboratory to report on this subject again at the Commission's next session.

Drug abuse

A picture of the drug abuse situation by regions of the world was drawn up and patterns of drug abuse were discerned. The Commission noted that drug abuse was continuing in the world with an increase in the abuse of psychotropic substances and in multiple drug abuse. However, more precise comparative studies of drug abuse among different populations of the world could not be presented on the basis of current Governments' reports. The Commission also noted that the revised Form of Annual Report and the "Manual on Drug Abuse Assessment", which was being prepared by the United Nations Division of Narcotic Drugs, would enable Governments to make a better assessment of drug abuse in their respective countries on the basis of which they could plan adequate preventive measures and improve their reporting on drug abuse to the United Nations.

The Commission recommended the adoption by the Council of the following draft resolution:

MEASURES TO REDUCE ILLICIT DEMAND FOR DRUGS

The Economic and Social Council,

Recalling article 38 of the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, 1961, and World Health Assembly resolutions WHA 23.42, WHA 24.57, WHA 25.62 and WHA 26.52 relating to the treatment of drug addicts,

Convinced that measures to reduce illicit supply of drugs cannot be effective in the long run unless measures are also taken concurrently to reduce illicit demand for drugs,

Recognizingthe humanitarian necessity of helping victims of drug abuse by their treatment as a first step, followed by their rehabilitation into society.

  1. Recommends that Governments take all appropriate measures to prevent drug abuse as well as to provide treatment facilities for addicts;

  2. Requests that the World Health Organization, With the aid of the United Nations Fund for Drug Abuse Control and other appropriate sources, assist Governments financially or technically, within the limits of available resources, according to their request, to apply treatment and rehabilitation measures;

  3. Further recommends that Governments incorporate measures for the prevention and treatment of drug abuse into their integrated public health programmes;

  4. Recommends that the appropriate international bodies promote world-wide exchange of information and expertise on prevention, treatment and research in these fields;

  5. Further recommends that, in view of the need for new methods of prevention and treatment and the need for additional knowledge concerning the processes of prevention and treatment, Governments pursue further research in these fields.

Scientific research including the problem of cannabis and the question of khat

Apart from and in addition to the scientific research carried out on Papaver somniferum and Papaver bracteatum as outlined above, the Commission noted that there had been increased international co-operation in the United Nations scientific research programmes. Governments had continued to provide basic research materials. Cannabis samples were received from Australia, the Federal Republic of Germany and Jamaica; cannabis components, from the United States; opium samples from Japan and Switzerland, and heroin seizures from Iran.

As in the past, one of the main functions of the United Nations Narcotics Laboratory had been the co-ordination of the research being carried out within the programmes-particularly to avoid unnecessary duplication of effort. Close contact had been maintained with collaborating scientists, and the Laboratory had continued to provide them with the samples needed for their research. There had been a considerable increase in the demand for such samples, and the work of the Laboratory had been greatly facilitated by the co-operation and assistance of the Swiss authorities in connexion with the formalities relevant to international control.

The Commission felt that international collaboration in scientific research was of the greatest importance and urged that this should be further expanded. It was noted that particular interest had been shown in the cannabis programme and that important investigations were being carried out in many countries on various aspects of the research.

As requested by the Commission, the United Nations Narcotics Laboratory had initiated research on the chemical composition of khat (Catha edulis Forsk), and the Commission noted with satisfaction that considerable progress had been made. It was hoped that the Laboratory would be able to give high priority to this work.

As in previous years, technical assistance in the form of training in methods for the identification and analysis of narcotic and psychotropic substances had been provided by the United Nations Narcotics Laboratory which, during the period under review, had received fellowship holders from Argentina, Greece, Hong Kong, Iran, Peru, Poland, Republic of Korea, Sudan and Thailand.

The Commission expressed high appreciation of the substantial progress achieved in the United Nations research programmes and of the work accomplished by the Laboratory. Several representatives expressed the hope that the Laboratory would be provided with adequate resources for the continuation of its research and training activities.

Operations financed by UNFDAC

The Commission examined a report on operations financed by the United Nations Fund for Drug Abuse Control (UNFDAC). The report, with its annexes, set out the progress of individual projects and trends of expenditure since the creation of the Fund on 1 April 1971. Seventy-four projects had been completed or were being implemented at the end of 1974, compared with 33 in 1973, at a cost of $1,198,700. The total number of completed and on-going projects and new projections at the end of 1976 was estimated to be 81 at an over-all cost of $16,113,700.

The Fund had received contributions from 40 Governments and during the Commission session, several representatives and observers announced their Govern- ment's readiness to pledge more contributions; in particular the representative of the United States of America informed the Commission, on its opening day, that his Government was pledging a contribution of $4,000,000. The total amount of contributions paid or pledged by 43 Governments since the inception of the Fund was approximately of 18 million dollars.

In its sectorial review the report showed that great importance was being attached by Governments to crop replacement in areas where drug plants giving rise to abuse were still being illegally cultivated, to the enactment or revision of basic narcotics legislation, to the training of national law enforcement services, to the development of national narcotics laboratories and the training of chemists in analytical techniques, and to research in the chemical, educational, medical and sociological fields. Training, much of which had been initiated in Geneva by the Division's Central Training Unit and by the Narcotics Laboratory, was being regionalized where possible with the co-operation of local drug control and training organizations as well as of ICPO/Interpol.

The view was expressed that much could be gained through better co-ordination and a more consistent commitment to long-term goals on the part of all organizations and agencies devoted to drug abuse control. The Fund was an excellent vehicle for achieving this. It was suggested that through the work of the Inter-Agency Advisory Committee on Drug Abuse Control, by the use of the procedures used for project assessment and through the information exchanges associated with the Fund, the process of co-ordination could be moved forward even further. It was suggested that evidence of co-ordination of effort should be included as a criterion for approval and funding of projects. This would encourage international agencies to think in interdisciplinary terms when developing projects proposals.

The Commission supported the view that increased emphasis should be placed in future on measures to reduce illicit demand. Reports suggested that harmful drug use could not be dealt with solely through the control of primary substances. More effort should be devoted to determining the causes of the problem by means of research, to reducing demand both through education and a host of social measures as well as by treating the consequences of harmful drug use. While the methods used would vary for different parts of the world international comparisons would provide valuable insight.

General satisfaction was expressed with the progress of the Fund, which was playing an essential role deserving the support of every Member of the United Nations. Momentum, it was said, should be maintained so that programmes could be extended to promote common goals. Current contributions to the Fund, though substantial, were not enough to finance the expansion of activities to the extent required.

Form of annual reports

Under the relevant conventions, Governments are required to supply detailed information on the situation as regards drugs in their respective territories. For this purpose, they use a form--actually a questionnaire--prepared by the Commission. Until now the form applied only to narcotic drugs. However, since the adoption in 1971 of the Convention on psychotropic substances (barbiturates, amphetamines, hallucinogens), it has become important to have similar information on these substances as well. For this reason, and also to simplify and rationalize the questions, a new form had been prepared and considered by the Commission at its third special session.

In examining the draft document, the Commission emphasized the importance of establishing a questionnaire which remained clearly within the framework of the international treaties in the field and pointed to the necessity of equitably assigning responsibility for reporting to both manufacturing and producing countries, in addition to eliciting data which should be of immediate practical value to both the Commission and the Division.

A number of amendments to the draft were made and the Form was then unanimously adopted. The Commission, however, recognized that it could not yet prescribe the form formally since some of the questions related to conventions not yet in force. The Division was directed to prepare and distribute this revised document to Governments as soon as possible. The Commission further decided to re-examine the form at its next regular session in 1977, and in this connexion it decided that annual reports for 1975 should be submitted on the basis of the new form in so far as possible so as to benefit from the experience thus acquired. Governments were also invited to submit their annual reports for 1974 in accordance with the new form if they so wished.

Report of the INCB for 1974

Professor P. Reuter, President of the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) speaking for the first time before the Commission in that capacity, introduced the report of the Board for 1974. He paid tribute to the former President of the Board, Sir Harry Greenfield, whose example was still encouraging the action of the Board. Professor Reuter reviewed the situation in the field of treaties-wide participation in the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs and the expected entry into force of the 1972 Protocol amending that Convention. He underlined the importance of adhesion and ratification of the Conventions and he stressed the fact that, although there were States applying them de facto, States should also formally adhere to the treaties. As to the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances, despite the adherence of many countries, it was for the time being implemented only de facto by States which, by virtue of the recommendation made by the Plenipotentiary Conference of Vienna, transmitted to the Board information on the prevailing situation with regard to psychotropic substances. It was to be hoped that there would be an increase in such communications. This would help convince States that the Convention was a useful and even indispensable instrument to which they could adhere. The strengthening by States of their national legislation regarding psychotropic substances constituted a preliminary state of acceptation of the Convention, and the progress accomplished so far in this direction gave reason for optimism for the future of the Convention.

The President of the Board concluded his remarks with an appeal for cooperation and co-ordination of efforts; he perceived this co-ordination at three different levels, within the national authorities, among international organizations and between States.

The majority of the members of the Commission expressed satisfaction with the way the report of the INCB had been prepared and submitted.

Fifty-eighth session of the Economic and Social Council

At its fifty-eighth session held in New York in May 1975, the Council took note of the Report of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs on its twenty-sixth session by adopting resolution 1936 (LVIII). By resolution 1931 (LVIII) the Council took note of the Report of the International Narcotics Control Board for 1974, after having expressed its appreciation for the contribution to international drug control made by INCB during 1974. It also recommended that report to the urgent and serious attention of all Member States. Out of the six resolutions recommended by the Commission for adoption by the Council and mentioned in the preceding paragraphs, the Council adopted four, without change: resolution 1932 (LVIII) on Illicit traffic in narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances;1 resolution 1933 (LVIII) on the Cannabis problem;2 resolution 1934 (LVIII) on Measures to reduce illicit demand for drugs;3 resolution 1935 (LVIII) on Co-ordination of activities of international organs and organizations in the struggle against the abuse of drugs.4 The draft resolution recommended by the Commission on the periodicity of the sessions of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs and related matters was deferred to the fifty-ninth session where it will be considered under the item "Calendar of Conferences". The resolution recommended by the Commission on adequate priority for narcotics control was not discussed by ECOSOC which adopted, at the proposal of its President, a more general resolution on work programme and budget for 1976-1977 and medium-term plan for 1976-1979 relating to economic, social and human rights activities. As this resolution does not mention the draft resolution recommended by the Commission and does not take care of the essential points raised by it, this matter will have to be brought up by the Commission's Chairman and the Division, together with Delegations, at an appropriate place in due course.

In addition, the Council adopted a resolution entitled "United Nations Fund for Drug Abuse Control", the text of which reads as follows:

1937 (LVIII). UNITED NATIONS FUND FOR DRUG ABUSE CONTROL

The Economic and Social Council,

Noting with satisfaction the progress made by the United Nations Fund for Drug Abuse Control in developing useful programmes to assist Governments in preventing illicit cultivation, production and manufacture of, and illicit trafficking in and use of drugs,

Recalling General Assembly resolution 3278 (XXIX) of 10 December 1974 concerning the urgent need for Governments to provide adequate financial resources to enable the Fund to meet Governments' increasing requests for such assistance,

Aware that since the adoption of that resolution more countries have made contributions to the Fund, but that its financial resources remain insufficient,

  1. Appeals urgently to Governments to continue to make generous and sustained contributions to the United Nations Fund for Drug Abuse Control;

  2. Requests the Secretary-General to transmit this appeal to Governments.

1 See p. 34 above.

2 See p. 32 above,

3 See p. 36 above.

4 See p. 32 above,